This blog post outlines
- how quickly you can get your Australia visa – my tourist visa came through in five minutes
- how much it costs
- how to tell if your online visa is legitimate
UPDATE: TOURIST VISAS ARE NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR AUSTRALIA alongside many countries globally. Please keep safe and limit unnecessary travel.
This post contains an affiliate link to a visa service. I have personally used and paid for this service myself prior to recommending them.
In January 2020 I ran into a dilemma; I was due to enter Australia in a few days and didn’t have a visa ready. Oops. I immediately headed to the Immigration website to apply for their free evisitor visa subclass 651.
The free evisitor visa subclass 651 – which lasts for one year with entries up to 90 days at a time – is available for UK and EU citizens and the eight other European countries that are part of the Schengen Area.
If you have ample time to apply for your evisitor visa and are from one of the listed countries, apply for your free visa here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/evisitor-651
If you’re from a different country, or short on time, keep reading…
But alas, the immigration website was not working due to technical errors and after googling how long it took them to process visitor visas, it looked like I might in hot water. I panicked. While some UK citizens will get their free visitor visas in 48 or even 24 hours, other visas are selected for manual processing. So how long does that take? Apparently, nobody knows!
If you’ve found this blog post while panicking that you’ve left it too late to get your Australia Tourist Visa, you may have come across the dozens of forums where anxious individuals STILL haven’t had their visa processed after two weeks. The replies are unhelpful; well, you should have applied weeks ago! or don’t get on the plane without your visa, looks like you won’t be going on holiday lol. Thanks, internet, super helpful as always.
But don’t worry, there’s an easy solution. If you’ve got a few days to go and you’re worried, fortunately for a small fee you can get it processed quickly.
HOW TO GET YOUR AUSTRALIA TOURIST VISA QUICKLY
Thankfully, another website also came up during my search: iVISA.com
UK citizens like myself (along with many other countries) can apply for an ETA (otherwise known as the Subclass 601 Electronic Tourist Visa) instead of the free tourist visa. For all the information about the ETA, check the Australian immigration website here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/electronic-travel-authority-601
iVisa is one of the many websites offering this service. I was very apprehensive but chose their website due to the many positive reviews and the fact their price was lower than some other website.
The application form was also exceptionally easy, taking around one minute to fill out.
How long can you enter Australia for on the ETA and free evistor visa?
Both visas last for one year, with entries allowed for up to 90 days at a time.
The full list of countries who can get this ETA at the time of writing:
- Hong Kong (SAR of China)
- Republic of San Marino
- South Korea
- Taiwan (excluding official or diplomatic passports)
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom—British Citizen
- United Kingdom—British National (Overseas)
- United States of America
- Vatican City
How much does it cost to get an ETA for Australia with iVisa?
This service cost me just £16.04.
I highly recommend spending the small fee of £16.04* to get an ETA rather than risking the free visa. The service should take up to 24 hours… for me it came through in just five minutes!
*This is correct for UK, EU and US citizens at the time of writing but may slightly vary for other countries. Many British travel agents are charging £20 for the same service – iVisa was the cheapest version I saw (or matched by other websites).
How long does it take to get an Australia ETA through iVisa?
The processing time is within 24 hours. I applied for my Australia ETA at 11:47 and it came through at 11:52. Phew, crisis averted.
But please check the processing time directly on the iVisa website to be sure, as it may vary for other countries.
You can pay extra for expedited service and have your visa processed in just ONE HOUR – just select this while checking out with iVisa. For example, if you’re on your way to the airport and forgot to get a visa, this solution might save you.
You can check the status of your visa on their website at any time.
YOU CAN EVEN CHECK YOUR ETA IS LEGITIMATE ON THE IMMIGRATION WEBSITE
In my email from iVisa, they added a link to the Australia immigration website where I could check my ETA was legitimate and recognised by the Australian government. I was a bit nervous about using an online service and this really put my mind at rest.
Go to https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/ETAS3/etas and select ‘Check an ETA’. You just need your passport details and the ETA reference number (which will be easy to find on the document iVisa email to you once your ETA is approved).
Is the iVisa website legitimate?
Yes, I personally used the iVisa website to get my Australia tourist visa which I paid for myself. You can even check the ETA number is recognised by the Australian government using the steps directly above
What is the difference between the ETA and the free evisitor visa?
Essentially, the rules are exactly the same. It’s just the latter is FREE (so definitely don’t pay if you have ample time to spare. For certain countries, such as the USA, the free evistor visa is not available so they always have to purchase an ETA. For UK citizens, the ETA is only recommended for anyone short on time.
Immigration will recognise your ETA without any questions.
If you are not a UK or EU citizen, can you still use the iVisa service for your Australia visa?
Yes. But the processing times may vary, so please check. Also, the cost is usually higher from other countries.
Should I print my ETA?
Yes, iVisa recommends you print your ETA. However, I was never asked for my print out or questioned by immigration, I simply seamlessly exited Sydney airport upon arrival.
I’m not from a country which you’ve listed above. Can I still use the iVisa service?
Apologies, I’m not sure. Check on their website or the form below to see what visa you need.
Please get in touch if any of the above information becomes out of date so I can keep this post updated for future anxious travellers.
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